Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Homeschooling Wish List

There are predictable reactions when people find out we homeschool our kids. So, when I ran across this rant in Secular Homeschooling Magazine, I had to laugh hard and share it. Consider yourself warned. We homeschoolers can be a scrappy, snarky bunch.

  1. Please stop asking us if it's legal. If it is - and it is - it's insulting to imply that we're criminals. And if we were criminals, would we admit it?
  2. Learn what the words "socialize" and "socialization" mean, and use the one you really mean instead of mixing them up the way you do now. Socializing means hanging out with other people for fun. Socialization means having acquired the skills necessary to do so successfully and pleasantly. If you're talking to me and my kids, that means that we do in fact go outside now and then to visit the other human beings on the planet, and you can safely assume that we've got a decent grasp of both concepts.
  3. Quit interrupting my kid at her dance lesson, scout meeting, choir practice, baseball game, art class, field trip, park day, music class, 4H club, or soccer lesson to ask her if as a homeschooler she ever gets to socialize.
  4. Don't assume that every homeschooler you meet is homeschooling for the same reasons and in the same way as that one homeschooler you know.
  5. If that homeschooler you know is actually someone you saw on TV, either on the news or on a "reality" show, the above goes double.
  6. Please stop telling us horror stories about the homeschoolers you know, know of, or think you might know who ruined their lives by homeschooling. You're probably the same little bluebird of happiness whose hobby is running up to pregnant women and inducing premature labor by telling them every ghastly birth story you've ever heard. We all hate you, so please go away.
  7. We don't look horrified and start quizzing your kids when we hear they're in public school. Please stop drilling our children like potential oil fields to see if we're doing what you consider an adequate job of homeschooling.
  8. Stop assuming all homeschoolers are religious.
  9. Stop assuming that if we're religious, we must be homeschooling for religious reasons.
  10. We didn't go through all the reading, learning, thinking, weighing of options, experimenting, and worrying that goes into homeschooling just to annoy you. Really. This was a deeply personal decision, tailored to the specifics of our family. Stop taking the bare fact of our being homeschoolers as either an affront or a judgment about your own educational decisions.
  11. Please stop questioning my competency and demanding to see my credentials. I didn't have to complete a course in catering to successfully cook dinner for my family; I don't need a degree in teaching to educate my children. If spending at least twelve years in the kind of chew-it-up-and-spit-it-out educational facility we call public school left me with so little information in my memory banks that I can't teach the basics of an elementary education to my nearest and dearest, maybe there's a reason I'm so reluctant to send my child to school.
  12. If my kid's only six and you ask me with a straight face how I can possibly teach him what he'd learn in school, please understand that you're calling me an idiot. Don't act shocked if I decide to respond in kind.
  13. Stop assuming that because the word "home" is right there in "homeschool," we never leave the house. We're the ones who go to the amusement parks, museums, and zoos in the middle of the week and in the off-season and laugh at you because you have to go on weekends and holidays when it's crowded and icky.
  14. Stop assuming that because the word "school" is right there in homeschool, we must sit around at a desk for six or eight hours every day, just like your kid does. Even if we're into the "school" side of education - and many of us prefer a more organic approach - we can burn through a lot of material a lot more efficiently, because we don't have to gear our lessons to the lowest common denominator.
  15. Stop asking, "But what about the Prom?" Even if the idea that my kid might not be able to indulge in a night of over-hyped, over-priced revelry was enough to break my heart, plenty of kids who do go to school don't get to go to the Prom. For all you know, I'm one of them. I might still be bitter about it. So go be shallow somewhere else.
  16. Don't ask my kid if she wouldn't rather go to school unless you don't mind if I ask your kid if he wouldn't rather stay home and get some sleep now and then.
  17. Stop saying, "Oh, I could never homeschool!" Even if you think it's some kind of compliment, it sounds more like you're horrified. One of these days, I won't bother disagreeing with you any more.
  18. If you can remember anything from chemistry or calculus class, you're allowed to ask how we'll teach these subjects to our kids. If you can't, thank you for the reassurance that we couldn't possibly do a worse job than your teachers did, and might even do a better one.
  19. Stop asking about how hard it must be to be my child's teacher as well as her parent. I don't see much difference between bossing my kid around academically and bossing him around the way I do about everything else.
  20. Stop saying that my kid is shy, outgoing, aggressive, anxious, quiet, boisterous, argumentative, pouty, fidgety, chatty, whiny, or loud because he's homeschooled. It's not fair that all the kids who go to school can be as annoying as they want to without being branded as representative of anything but childhood.
  21. Quit assuming that my kid must be some kind of prodigy because she's homeschooled.
  22. Quit assuming that I must be some kind of prodigy because I homeschool my kids.
  23. Quit assuming that I must be some kind of saint because I homeschool my kids.
  24. Stop talking about all the great childhood memories my kids won't get because they don't go to school, unless you want me to start asking about all the not-so-great childhood memories you have because you went to school.
  25. Here's a thought: If you can't say something nice about homeschooling, shut up!
HT: Deborah Markus


Viola said...

Snarky but great. One of my daughters home schools, (three children) another one did (six children) until she found a great charter school and is going to school herself.

Thanks chris

Gary said...

"We don't look horrified and start quizzing your kids when we hear they're in public school."

Maybe you should :D

Says the no kids public school graduate.

Chris said...

I would, except that it would embarrass the wrong person (the kid or the parent, instead of the teachers & bureaucrats responsible).

Anecdote: We were visiting a church and my eldest son went to the Sunday School lesson. They were talking about Rom. 12:1, where Paul encourages us to present ourselves as "living sacrifices." My [sarcasm]socially maladjusted homeschooler[/sarcasm] piped up and says: "Then Paul would have loved the Aztecs! They did that all the time!"

The teacher looked at him - a visitor - for a second, then around the room, and said "What are you? Homeschooled?"

Avery couldn't have been prouder!

Anonymous said...

Give Avery a high-five for me!
Thanks for the laughs from the wish list and from Avery. It really lightens the day.

Rich Strode

Benjamin P. Glaser said...

I congratulate you on being willing to do this Chris. I cannot for the life of me imagine a possible world where I would send my kids to Public School (no offense to those that do). Even if I have to get a second job to afford it my kids will go to Private schools.

Bill Crawford said...

Wow I loved that!

I will never forget being at a Synod Event where we were discussing the effects of TPUP (important backgrounder here) and I was the only outspoken evangelical present. I wa having breakfast with a typical PCUSAer (progressive) who upon hearing that I was considering homeschooling felt it appropriate to lecture me.

This was the first time I had met this person. Very typical.

My son's classic Sunday School event was to be sad when he learned that if he asked for a loaf of bread he would not get a snake - because he wanted a snake....

Thanks for the great PSA!

Dave Moody said...

What's a real buzz, is when your homeschooled kid decides they'd like to go to HS. They do. And they're at the top of their class. And teachers say, "I've never seen a kid who thinks so well on his feet and asks such good questions before."

good list.

will said...

This is great - and very true.

For some reason, in spite of the obvious (mostly intentional) deficiencies of the public school system, homeschooling is one issue that convinces people who don't even know a person to offer their disapproving opinions.

Anonymous said...

Love 'em!

Hard-hitting truth in all of them. The bias against homeschoolers in this country is astonishingly high and encouraged in the media.

Notice how every slight infraction committed by a homeschooled youth gets into the national media, when the everyday thousands of worse offenses by the public schooled are glossed over? Of course you do!

Not to mention that some of the finest minds in human history were home schooled...

But I guess I did mention it!

Chris said...

The good news: top ranked schools are developing admissions criteria for homeschoolers.

The bad news: it may not be as easy to fit in as it is to get in.

Anonymous said...

You know all about "fitting in" at liberal campuses don't you?

Anonymous said...

Dave has a great point about HS.
We had the misfortune to run into a vice-principal with a bias against (perhaps hatred of) Christian home-schooled students. It is a long story, but it took the threat of a lawsuit to get them to allow my oldest daughter to graduate (she entered public school in the eleventh grade). I later heard that he was no longer at the school. He was a lawsuit waiting to happen. The good news was that the Lord provided us with a willing attorney, an angel somewhere in the records office, and the support of family, friends, and strangers.

-Rich Strode